During the residency period I will be expanding research that I undertook, while making ‘Niolam Ja Se Kochaneczke’ (2016).

Niolam Ja Se Kochaneczke explores potentialities of queer utopias, while looking at the relationship between history, ‘national values’ and power structures.

Through the work I revisited Eastern European folk traditions and whilst employing feminist and queer reading I questioned why queer love has never been preserved and celebrated in the folk history. I reclaimed these stories by subverting the narrative of ‘straight’ love songs to represent queer love stories instead.

My aim was to problematize how history is written and tradition is represented, often only to sustain the power structures that claim it ‘objective’. I intended to encourage the viewer to consider and experience history as a discourse made out of multiple, overlapping and contesting narratives rather than a single, fixed entity.

I questioned what the “national values” are / are claimed to be and look at the ‘fragility’ of national identity, threatened so easily by ‘otherness’ and queer subjectivities.

Niolam Ja Se Kochaneczke relocates queerness both historically and geographically. Queerness In Eastern Europe is often perceived as a contemporary phenomenon that arrived from Western Europe, rather than something that always had its presence. I want to acknowledge its historical place and reclaim histories that were  repressed. As well as this I want to speak of queerness in context of rural communities, as too often it is considered only within the urban setting.

The recordings were done in a traditional rural setting in East of Poland (Roztocze and Karpaty) with folk singers singing both in Polish and Lemkov (Ukrainian dialect).

This work is currently exhibited in local_30 gallery in Warsaw, Poland – part of POGANKI | HEATHENS, a group show curated by Agnieszka Rayzacher, featuring Karolina Breguła, Marta Bogdańska, Maria Kniaginin-Ciszewska, Katarzyna Górna, Kinga Michalska, Liliana Piskorska (Zeic), Aleka Polis, Karolina Sobel & myself.

The exhibition is directly inspired by The Heathen, considered the first Polish novel to address love and passion between women. Boy-Żeleński wrote: “sisterhood, that most perfect form of friendship, could lead to genuine love tragedies – and powerfully impregnate souls with suffering. Because The Heathen comes into being one year after those incidents.”

The relationships addressed in the exhibition are not always downright romantic. Close ties between women, mutual understanding and empathy have a long history and manifest themselves in women’s circles reactivated today, among other phenomena.

See the show till 5th June 2016 if in Warsaw, and also you can access it virtually via the local_30 website.

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